Do firefighters go to a special school? 👩🚒👨🚒 How do they know when there's a fire? Join us as our host Emily Calandrelli answers those questions and chats with Adam Mudge, an Australian volunteer firefighter who works hard to save wildlife and people from fires.
Discover fun activities and songs that will teach your child all about collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication in the Lingokids app! 💙
Speaker: When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.
Speaker: What does being a firefighter mean to you?
Speaker: They save the world.
Speaker: And put out fires and help everyone.
When I grow up
Want to be a pilot with a uniform white always flying high up in the sky
When I grow up
Want to be a firefighter putting out flames or maybe a police officer keeping people safe
It's so fun to learn what you can be, growing up, growing up.
When I grow up
Want to be an artist that paints portraits.
Want to be a scientist that does experiments.
Oh, so many people you will meet, growing up, growing up, growing up, growing up, growing up, growing up.
Speaker: Hi, and welcome to Growing Up with Emily, a Lingokids podcast, helping amazing kids to grow up and be even more amazing. Emily, it's me. As a kid, I was always asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I wanted to be so many things. Does that sound familiar? Then I am glad you are listening because you are going to find out what it takes to be anything you want. Are you ready to make public safety your superpower?
Speaker: Last episode we met Autumn, a police officer who dedicates her life to coaching and supporting other female law enforcement. Today, we're exploring an equally dangerous and exciting job.
Speaker: Did you hear that? That's a fire alarm.
Speaker: Do you like to help when there's trouble? If you've dreamed of being a firefighter, you won't want to miss this episode. Today, we're going to meet a real firefighter in Australia. Right now things are heating up around here. It appears there's a fire in the building.
Speaker: Firefighters are some of the bravest people, some volunteer. They don't even get paid to do the job.
Speaker: We often think of men and fireproof gear sliding down a pole at a fire station, then jumping on a red fire truck to race to a fire. That's mostly true, but-
Speaker: -but women can be firefighters too.
Speaker: That's right. In the US and Australia, about 5 out of every 100 firefighters are female.
Speaker: It's a tough job.
Speaker: It certainly is. Do you know what they have to do?
Speaker: Put out fires, of course.
Speaker: Yes, of course, that's part of the job. When firefighters are not hosing down a wildfire or a burning building, they're treating sick or injured people and responding to all sorts of emergencies. One unique thing about firefighters is that they can be on duty for a few days so they spend the night at the fire station.
Speaker: Like a home away from home.
Speaker: Do they have chores also?
Speaker: Sure do. They sweep, mop, throw out the trash, do laundry and wash the fire trucks. They even take turns cooking.
Speaker: Do they get to relax?
Speaker: Of course. They also spend time at schools and in the community.
Speaker: Firefighters are called first responders. They show up to an emergency call first. They work alongside the police and paramedics.
Speaker: The fire truck has arrived.
Speaker: Stand back. They've hooked up a hose to the fire hydrant and are about to spray the fire. Hey, here's a quick joke. What happened to the firefighter the third time she was late to work?
Speaker: I don't know.
Speaker: She got fired.
Speaker: Wow. Oh, it looks like the fire was quickly put out. Phew. Nobody was hurt. As the firefighters wrapped things up, let's see if one will talk with us. Are you ready to meet a real firefighter?
Speaker: They all have their names on the back of their coats.
Speaker: In dangerous situations, it's really important that the crew can be easily identified.
Speaker: That's smart.
Speaker: Let's see if Adam will talk with us.
Speaker: Hi there, Adam. I'm with Lingokids, and we want to find out what it takes to be a firefighter. Can we ask some questions?
Speaker: Of course, you can.
Speaker: Great. First off, how long have you been a firefighter?
Speaker: I've been a firefighter for seven years now, but I'm a volunteer firefighter with the Country Fire Service in South Australia.
Speaker: What does a volunteer firefighter mean?
Speaker: We get trained. We have this fire station like every other firefighter would. We have a brigade, fire trucks, all the safety equipment. We just also live normal lives. We all have normal jobs. We basically carry around a pager and we have an app on our phone. If there's an emergency, we get paged and a message gets sent to our phone. If we're available, we hop in our cars, we drive up to the station and respond to the incident.
Speaker: What are three things all firefighters need?
Speaker: Training. Everyone needs to be trained to be a firefighter. You also need to have safety equipment and the willingness to do some things that people would normally feel comfortable doing, like going to danger instead of running away from danger.
Speaker: Wow. I have never thought of it that way.
Speaker: That's really interesting. Adam, maybe you can give us some tips at the end on how our listeners can start learning some of this. We also received some excellent questions from our Lingokids listeners.
Speaker: How can you put out the fire on your own, especially if it's a big fire?
Speaker: We'd always work in teams. If we were to arrive to a scene, we won't just go into house houses on fire. We'll always send two people in as a pair, so buddy pairs. You'll always have someone watching over them, looking out for danger that they might not be seeing.
Speaker: I can be your buddy.
Speaker: And I can be yours.
Speaker: Adam, how do you stand the heat?
Speaker: We have fire firefighting boots. We've got personal protective equipment. We have two types. We have rural firefighting gear, which is a bit light weight. We also have structural firefighting gear, which is much thicker, is quite heavy, thick gloves. Then you've also got an oxygen cylinder on you on your back as well. Yes, it's all pretty heavy.
Speaker: I wonder if I could carry all this and fight fires.
Speaker: You're trained. If you're not strong enough to lift an oxygen tank then, generally, you're not the type of person to be doing it basically, but we have a lot of female firefighters and they are very good at what they do.
Speaker: Adam, what's more dangerous, a wildfire or fire in a building?
Speaker: It's a hard one. I would probably prefer a wildfire. No one prefers any fire. I'd say more dangerous would be a structured fire, going into a structured fire, but, again, they all very much present their own dangers. Wildfires, bushfires are very unpredictable, so it can be quite scary.
Speaker: That is scary.
Speaker: Sometimes you are risking your life to save animals, sometimes to save people. What difference does it make to you?
Speaker: We have a rule. Our safety comes first, then preservation of life. If it's safe to do so and safe to save another life, we'll go save another life, and then basically works down to wildlife. Saving wildlife is-- Yes, very much we all love animals. Yes, it's very much something we want to do, especially with bushfires, obviously, we might be waiting for the fire to come to us, and while we're doing that, we see a lot of wildlife running away from the dangers.
Speaker: I love little koalas. Adam, do you get to save koalas?
Speaker: About three years ago we were tasked to look after a property that was somewhat in danger. While we were there the fire was slowly moving towards us, and in the time there was a lot of wildlife coming out of the fire. There was koalas and kangaroos. We'd just be talking to each other, and all of a sudden, there was a koala sitting on the grass next to us, and the owner of the property said, "Oh, look, put it in my laundry." One of the guys grabbed it and followed her into her house. She open the door to her laundry and there were already seven or eight koalas already in there. Yes, it was actually strange to see so many koalas and we weren't expecting that whatsoever.
Speaker: Tell me they all survived.
Speaker: Yes. Later on we found out that they saved 14 koalas that day. They all were found new homes. They were collected, I believe, by the wildlife rescue team and were looked after until they were put back into a place that wasn't burnt.
Speaker: When did you decide you wanted to be a volunteer firefighter?
Speaker: There was a big fire in my area, probably, eight years ago and I felt very helpless. All we could do is just watch the fire go across the hill and it's like, ugh. I really want to be there and help but-- After that fire, I said, "Well, if I can certainly help, so why not help? Seven years later here we are. [chuckles]
Speaker: What can kids do now while they're still growing up to become a firefighter?
Speaker: Well, I'm sure there's always cadet programs. There's always a drive to have kids get involved in learning fire safety and the behavior of fire. Fire awareness is very important, learning ways to be prepared for fires. How can you make your house as safe as possible. If you ever caught in a situation, what's the best way to protect yourself in case you can't get away.
Speaker: True, once we had a firefighter coming to school to talk about something similar.
Speaker: If people want to get in, I'd just look at your local fire department and see what they've got to offer for young cadets to get involved.
Speaker: Thank you, Adam, being a firefighter or even a volunteer firefighter is not for the faint of heart. I'm sure you got our listeners thinking.
Speaker: We hope you enjoyed this episode of the Growing Up podcast. Even if you never planned to be a firefighter, it's great to get in firefighter shape, so go on and get active. Tune in next time when we meet a real doctor.
Speaker: To have a full interactive learning adventure, check out our Lingokids app with tons of games and activities for endless fun.
It's so fun to learn what you can be growing up, growing up.
So come and join us. Come everyone, so we can learn while having lots of fun.
Cause it's so fun to learn what you can be.
Yes, it's so fun to learn what you can be growing up, growing up, growing up.
[00:13:11] [END OF AUDIO]